Thursday, 14 June 2018


Each week passes quickly these days.  Here are some recent photos.

 John's photo of Mairi with children in Ben More Gardens outside Dunoon, Arygll

Ishie II, and Alastair 10.

  Ellie fell at Nursery and broke her right arm.  She appears to none the worse for it.  She also appears to be left-handed so is neither up nor down with her 'stookie (Scottish word for a plaster cast).

Ellie showing off her sweetie bracelet.  This is John's photo and he has captured her 'fiesty' character!

Ellie was sent home from Nursery with 'spots'.  So I had her for a day last week.  It turns out they were just midge bits.  My friend Anne says that it is a real problem in doctor's surgeries these days.  Children are sent home from Nursery and are told they must see a doctor before they can come back.  Often the problem, like this one, is not what they thought.  

However one can see the nursery's point of view. They have to be scrupulous about suspected lice, fleas, and contagious diseases.  I have every sympathy for organisations where groups of people are put in close contact with each other e.g. cruise ships, old folks' homes, prisons, as the spread of disease is so much harder to contain.

Meanwhile this photo shows how she came with me to Asda supermarket to find something Mairi told me about: you can buy Morello cherries in the frozen food section.  These are not the usual black, fleshier ones but these are red, 'sour', the kind that are often sold here in blue and white china jars as a syrup conserve which comes from Italy.

 So Harriet and I baked.  This is a test run for birthday.  It turned out just fine!

Harriet was 5 years old on June 6th.  She starts school in 2 months.  That's 3 down and 1 to go. She will go to the same school as Ishie and Alastair; Ishie now moves to the local secondary school.

Here is a recent photo of Indy on a climbing wall near his home in Los Angeles.  He finishes school this week and planning a trip to Florida to see Grandma and Grandpa B and their swimming pool.

Indy in Portland bookshop this week en route to family wedding in Hood River, Oregon.

 * * * * * * * * *


Teddy is overseeing the chocolate chip cookie test kitchen. Fortunately Teddy knows how to keep a secret... which is that Marks and Spencer's frozen chocolate chip cookie dough make much better cookies than my (Chatelaine cookbook 1954) recipe.  

Now I very carefully tried again (that's the evidence above) to try and figure out why I get the following verdicts:

[1]  Ishie "They are spongier than your other ones (i.e. M&S dough).  She is quite right.
[2] Alastair: "Your others ones are better."  Again ... M&S.  :-(

However, I think I have cracked it: the kids don't like nuts so I omit them in my recipe. Consequently the dough to choc chip ratio is much higher making them 'spongier'.

Solution:  I need to double the amount of choc chips! 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018


This is a recent photos of John and Mairi's gang.  Locatioin is Benmore Gardens in Dunoon.
Ellie is 3 years old, Ishie is 11 years old, Mairi and John, then Harriet in front who will be 5 years old next week and lastly Alastair who is 10 years old.

Monday, 14 May 2018


Dawn and Indy (6)

Harriet and Ellie 'Gnomes'

 The Popsicle Gang

Me (experimenting with Photoshop frames!)

Saturday, 12 May 2018


It was a great night Friday at the SCO concert in the City Halls, Glasgow. There were 3 pieces with the highlight being the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto played by this visiting artiste:

Renaud Capuçon*
He is French and is definitely crème de la crème!  It was the last concert of the season and, as usual, Glasgow audiences were 'up for it'. 

He absolutely raced through the piece. I think that created a problem: the orchestra wasn't 'together' part of the time.  To me it sounded a bit ragged. Maybe under-rehearsed?  However, the applause at the end of thunderous so his talent was certainly appreciated.

So was the problem the conductor?  This is a seriously good orchestra so I am at a bit of a loss here.  There are no reviews (so far) that I can find.
That's the bad news; the good news is... it was one of the best concerts I have ever attended; I greatly enjoyed the whole evening! But as usual I have got things back to front, i.e. I produce a good account but for all the wrong reasons!

 The conductor Gustavo Gimeno**

I simply could not take my eyes off the conductor! His name is Gustavo Gimeno. He is Spanish. Sitting in the centre Stalls 6 rows back from the front of the stagel I faced directly on to the conductor's podium.

This photo above, taken from a video clip on YouTube, illustrates what I was looking at ... which was, of course, his back. But why was I so captivated throughout the entire concert? Was it the music?  Was it being so close to the whole orchestra who were playing their socks off, so to speak?

No... the reason is sartorial! The conductor was wearing the most beautiful garment I have ever seen!

I don't know who his tailor is but he is very well served! The cloth was fine and draped well; the fit was perfect. It was cut as above and never looked scrunched or disheveled despite 2 hours of continuous movement. It was such a joy to see such beautiful craftsmanship!

So it was a memorable evening to close the season. As always it is enjoyable to be part of a Glasgow audience (where I always meet and greet folk I know) but  I do have to confess that I was quite blown away by the young conductor in his cutaway coat!

* Photo of Renaud Capuçon by Simon Fowler; tree photo by J Albiston
** Photo by Marco Borggreve

Thursday, 10 May 2018


Another day ... and another birthday.  74 years!  

Pick some flowers: peacock narcissus. I started this blog May 10,2007... on this particular day. The link to it is here: []  I had trouble finding it so I add this as a double reference for the future!.

Later:  I found this from my 65th birthday! 

Friends are coming for dinner (Ottilia and Roger, Dick P) and Iain is making the meal.

I am still buying wine for the label.  Here is a funky one I picked up recently at Majestic Wines.  Big, colourful and jammy... just like the label.

I am still baking bread, as seen here above.  This is my lunch today: bread made 2 days ago for folk coming for an evening meal; crowdie (low fat Scottish chesse  ... a bit like cottage cheese put through a sieve).  

After 50 years of marriage the cutlery still does not match (it's a long story).  That yellow dish is my mother's.  It is awaiting a bunch of olives going into it for tonight's meal.  And the candlesticks came from Iseabail's flat.  They are silver and should polish up nicely.

The garden is doing well.  I spend a lot of time in it and it gives me enormous pleasure (plus exercise). Do I get help?  Uh-h-h no.  Iain sails and climb mountains.  I have learned to cut my cloth accordingly e.g. no heavy pots to lug around.

I keep busy with musical things. I still take piano lessons which fuction as a battery-charger or jump-leads.  I am involved with this organisation and produce their publicity material (voluntarily) using desktop publishing software.  This is next year's brochure which is just about ready for the printer.
The sailing desktop publishing work (voluntary) dried up as everything now goes directly on the their internet site ... which is fine.  (I don't do web sites etc.) The other thing is that my eyes get tired especially as I tend to spend too long sitting looking at the screen!

Monday, 30 April 2018


Some recent photos of the grandchildren:
Alastair aged 10

Ellie aged 3
Ishbel, 11 years, pushing Ellie

Harriet, aged 4.75 years and Ellie were breadmaking on Sunday.  (It keeps them out of mischief for a prolonged period!)

And last but not least, Indy 6 and a half years old, has been away at the Ronald MacDonald Cancer Camp.  Alastair accompanied him and took this rather lovely photo.

Friday, 20 April 2018


It's the smallest things that give pleasure...

I planted some nasturtium and sweet pea seeds last week and to my delight they germinated.

In past years they have often ended up rotten in soil that never warmed up.  (I keep them on the windowsill in trays.)

Last week John took this photo of a 'community' of snails on a rock when he and the family were on holiday in the south-west of Scotland.

I really like it! Maybe part of the reason I like it is that I have hunting for a colour of green for the cover of next season's music brochure that I put together.

There are so many 'greens'!  My usual practice is to find a picture of a bird and choose a shade from its plumage.  Here is my current working 'palette'

... that is until I have a go at finding a shade in John's photo.